Shane's Number Ones - August 2009

Now to rush onto my new books for August to be finally caught up...on the issue reviews I do, at least.  I still have other stuff to write about, but those aren't quite as time sensitive--I'd rather get these out while they're still somewhat relevant.

Adventure Comics #1 (or 504) - DC Comics

Not too long ago, I complained about Legion of Three Worlds.  While it's still certainly not my favorite recent book, I've gotten past many of those complaints just in time for this new ongoing series that, hopefully, will be around for a good, long time.  To start with--the art on this book?  Gorgeous.  Francis Manapul takes the talent he shaped on earlier books up until The Legion of Super-Heroes and adds in the color wash he perfected during Superman/Batman to create the beautiful look he gives Superboy and Smallville.  The early spread with him, Ma Kent and Krypto looking at the farm was my wallpaper for a good, long time.  An upcoming solicitation shows that Jerry Ordway will be on art duties for at least issue four, which isn't surprising--Manapul needed more than a few fill-ins during his Legion run--but as long as he returns, and they maintain a high level of talent for the fill-ins (and really, Jerry Ordway is a top-level artist, fill-in or not), I'm happy.  The co-feature on the Legion, drawn by Clayton Henry, isn't as breathtaking as the main story--but it's of a very respectable quality, and Henry performs his storytelling duties at the top of his game.  

And then we come to the writing side.  I'll make it very clear from the beginning--this still isn't the Superboy I grew to love, the Superboy that I read for ten years.  But I also realize that we aren't going back to that Superboy, to that series--and this Superboy is a much better one than the one we read about in Teen Titans.  I can accept this, and can look forward to this series even if it isn't exactly what I wanted.  Focusing on the story itself, Johns introduces us to Superboy, to his new home life, and gives us hints about his new supporting cast--it looks like we'll see a world similar to, but not quite the same as, what Clark Kent had growing up (in fact, that's even one of the main themes in this series, as Superboy tries to figure out whether he's more like Superman or Lex Luthor).  This wasn't a perfect story, but when I read Geoff Johns, he tends to deliver very good stories or stories that are filled with his cliches--this issue is definitely from the former category.

Finally, the Legion backup.  We don't take a look at the Legion proper, but instead get to see Starman, pulling double duty with ties to both the Justice Society and the Legion, as a "bridge" to the team that will ultimately star in this feature.  I can't say that I'm completely in love with this yet, and the solicitations suggest a co-writer joins in upcoming issues, which could be good or bad--but I'm not turned off by it, either, and I hope to see the Legion writing that Johns showed in his Action Comics issues.

Doom Patrol #1 - DC Comics

fdjakslfdaslk;fjdlk;fjdsakfdsa aghhhhh Blogger stop losing my saved posts.  Okay.  I wrote out this really nice review for this title but no, screw it, I'm not writing it out again.  Doom Patrol was great, Metal Men was great, I'm sticking around, screw you Blogger.

King City #1 (of 12) - Image Comics (presented by Tokyopop)

This is a good book.  Really good.  It's not quite "I Kill Giants or Phonogram good" yet, but man, it has that potential.  I bought this book out of curiosity after reading interviews about it--how Brandon Graham had put so much effort into crafting this series, but Tokyopop folded the imprint publishing it after only the first half had been done, and now it was finally being brought to Image to tell the whole story.  I'd also heard plenty of great things about it--which, hey, meant I was going to check it out.  And wow.  It's really interesting--completely "out there", but in the best way possible.  The art may seem too stylized for some, but it works, completely, and the level of detail in some panels is very impressive.  My only two concerns are that the issue has rather large dimensions--which can be annoying for storage, but it hasn't affected the price at all, fortunately--and that it doesn't really end on a cliffhanger.  Given that the story was conceived as two graphic novels, and has been split into twelve issues, this was inevitable, but I worry that it will prevent some people from returning for the next issue.  Not me, though--I will be bringing this, and the next issue, to the next party for lendings.

Archie #600 - Archie Comics

Okay, don't even try to tell me that I'm the only one paying attention here.  This is Archie.  Getting married.  To Veronica.

Poor Betty.

In all seriousness, though, I had to get this title.  Archie is one of the biggest titles in the comics industry, and he's an icon known almost at the level of SupermanBatman, and Spider-Man.  To have him finally end the famous love triangle is a huge deal.  Sure, this is a future story, and sure, it's made clear that this isn't a definitive decision--but just the idea that Archie would actually do it?

Anyway, the issue itself?  Surprisingly...good.  This comic was written by Michael Uslan, who has been a producer and developer of many movies, including, perhaps most notably, the Batman film franchises.  He draws on his lifelong love of the characters to write this story, and it shows.  This is a celebration to everything about Archie and its completely identifiable characters, and it shows in every page.

I do not have an extensive history with Archie comics--but after reading this issue, I felt like I did.  I felt invested in these characters.  That is a great thing, because it can be incredibly difficult to trap new readers like that--but Uslan succeeds.

For people who need comics to be Super Serious, this obviously isn't the book for you.  But if you like a little fun, if you don't mind going back to a simpler comic, I'd really recommend this little event.


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